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Old 05-05-2012, 02:53 PM   #1
jessdykstra
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2002 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Dizzy 2002 L300 -- Intermittent Starting Issue

Hello,

I have a 2002 Saturn L300 that for about two weeks now has been giving me intermittent starting issues.

Mileage is 89,200. I've performed all necessary maintenance, always get my oil changes on time, take good care of the car.

For the first start of the day, most days over the past 2 weeks, it has given me trouble. I've not used the gas at all while trying to start it, and usually after cranking 2 or 3 times, it starts up. If I turn it off and try to start it again, it starts right up. If I drive for a little while, turn it off, try to start it, it starts right up.

First, I tightened the battery terminals, and noticed I didn't have the issue for a few days at all. One of the days in that few day time frame, I drove 800 miles. No trouble that day at all, or the next day either. Next, it started doing it again, so I replaced the battery since it was 5 years old. For the first couple days after replacing the battery, I had no issues, until this morning, when it did it again, and gave me the most difficult time starting that it has yet.

The issue only seems to happen when the car hasn't been started overnight or for a few hours.

Do I need to replace my starter? Is there something else that needs to be done? I read in a thread on this site something about resetting the security system, but I have no idea if that could be my problem. I just recently quit my job to move back to my home state (hence the 800 mile drive) to deal with some health issues, so I just want to be careful and only want to replace what needs to be replaced as all funds need to go toward the health stuff. I don't want to go get the starter done only to find out the issue is something else.

Thank you so much for any help you can offer!!!!! =) I will be happy to answer any questions to help clarify the issue.
-Jess

EDIT:
Engine is running completely normal. Issue is only when starting. No codes or lights are coming up.

Last edited by jessdykstra; 05-05-2012 at 02:57 PM.. Reason: added information

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Old 05-05-2012, 03:31 PM   #2
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: 2002 L300 -- Intermittent Starting Issue

Welcome to Saturnfans!

You may have to clarify some information a little better. The confusion may be in the way starting is described. Are you having trouble with the starter or with starting? The difference is the first is about the starter and is best described as either no sounds from the engine when the ignition switch is turned to the START position or a loud 'click'. A starting issue would be described as the engine can be heard cranking over with the starter but the engine doesn't fire up unless more than one attempt is made.

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Old 05-07-2012, 05:49 PM   #3
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Default Re: 2002 L300 -- Intermittent Starting Issue

fdryer,

Thanks so much for your response and the warm welcome. =)

I figured I would have to provide clarification. Based on what you've said, I would say it does this: When I turn the key, the lights come on like normal, it beeps like normal, and when I turn the key the rest of the way, I hear nothing. If I do this a couple times, it starts, but it sounds like it hesitates a bit in starting.

It will do one of two things: 1) start, only with a bit of hesitation, or 2) not start, and make no noise when I turn the key, then after a couple of tries, start, with that little bit of hesitation

I might be able to figure out how to post a recording of the sound. Would that help?

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Old 05-07-2012, 07:35 PM   #4
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Default Re: 2002 L300 -- Intermittent Starting Issue

A recording isn't necessary as you seem to have narrowed down the description well. Another question may help. Are the majority of your drives short trips with several done a few times a day? The question is based on the relatively low mileage. It does seem to be starter related. Starters tend to last well over 100,000 miles but many short trips around town will wear out one before the mileage builds up.

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Old 07-27-2013, 02:34 PM   #5
jessdykstra
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Default Re: 2002 L300 -- Intermittent Starting Issue

Hello! This is an old post, but I've just realized I never closed the loop for everyone. To close the loop on this issue for anyone searching old posts in search of information on a similar problem: My intermittent starting issue continued from May through September, until I was able to save up to go to the shop. The 800 mile trip I referenced in my initial post went fine, and in all driving May through September, I just traveled around with my AAA card ready to go; I was always ready for it to not start, as eventually, it was requiring multiple cranks/tries every time. The car never once completely refused to start, though. Finally, in early September, I took it in and my guys decided I needed a starter. They replaced the starter and all starting has been problem-free since.

Hope anyone experiencing a similar issue is just as lucky as I was in terms of not getting stranded and the fix being one replacement. =)

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